Obsessed with Senegalese Wrestling

Traditionally a pursuit young men engaged in to court wives and bring honor to their villages, Senegalese wrestling is now the national sport of the small coastal Saharan country — and more popular than football.

Due to high temps during the day, the sand-based competitions take place in the evening, after training on the beach, and last between 90 seconds and 15 minutes.

Swiss photographer Christian Bobst traveled to Dakar, the capital, to document these ‘gris gris’ wrestlers, so called for the amulets or talismans they wear for good luck. They also perform rituals — mixing potions, releasing pigeons, washing in plant milk — to call on mystical forces for strength and endurance. 

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